After hundreds of conversations with people who are considering making big lifestyle changes so they can live their purpose while also living their dream, I’ve picked up on some common things that consistently get in their way and broken them into these 7 Blocks to Living by Design

Here are 7 Things that Prevent People from Living By Design

1. They talk themselves out of it.

We’re all wired up to maintain our comfort zones so we can feel safe. Even when we’re desperate for something new and different, we may still find ourselves sabotaging our growth in subtle ways.

In order to finally stretch beyond the comfort zone and create real change, we have to start recognizing the ways we talk ourselves out of growth and cut those thoughts off at the pass.

Thoughts like:

“Now’s not the right time.”

“Maybe when x, y, or z are in order, THEN I’ll be able to work on building my dream lifestyle.”

“I’m not sure I can do it, so it’s best to stick to what I know.”


The truth is that you’ll always be able to come up with excuses not to go for your dream and if you wait for the perfect time, then you might find yourself at 80 years old wondering “what if.”

2. They’re afraid they’ll be judged.

I realized long ago that people judge all the time. Again … We’re wired up to do this whether we like it or not.

When we try to avoid judgment, we may block ourselves from living by design, but don’t actually prevent the judgment.

Even if we bend over backward and put our best foot forward 100% of the time, someone out there will still judge us negatively.  There’s no outsmarting it.

So, rather than live falsely to keep others comfortable, we may as well consider who we actually are and what we actually want and get busy working out the kinks of showing up authentically.

Even if people judge us for our authentic expressions, it’ll still feel way better than being judged while bending over backward and faking it every day.

3. They take care of everyone else at their own expense.

Don’t forget, part of taking care of others is modeling to them how they can take care of themselves.

If our loved ones are used to us picking up all the slack (and laundry,bills, and dishes), then they’ll never learn to pull their weight.

If they see us consistently putting our own joy and health on the back burner, then they’ll learn to feel shame about taking good care of themselves.

Yes, the needs of our loved ones and clients are important! And so are our own! Treat them accordingly.

4. Their spouse is skeptical.

All the stuff I mentioned about how our own comfort zones can hold us in place … it’s even more intense when we’ve fallen into routines in our shared lifestyle with others.

You might want to start your own business or take 6 months a year to travel, but in order to make it happen, you have to manage your spouse’s fear and limiting beliefs in addition to your own.

Think about what and how you can build together. A spouse can be a wonderful cheerleader and support when you want to build similar things together in partnership.

5. No one else in their life is doing it.

When everyone in our lives is striving for the American dream, it may feel dangerous to have a different kind of dream. People may not understand when you tell them what you want to build, which can feel isolating.

It’s critical that you find people in your life who can dream big with you, who are building interesting things in their own lives, and who understand the call to something more.

This camaraderie is one reason small group coaching is such a valuable tool.

6. They didn’t learn it in school.

As grateful as I am for my education, it didn’t prepare me for a handmade life. School generally teaches us how to fit a mold, not create one.

When we’ve been taught for decades to grow up and be a lawyer, teacher, doctor, etc., then some un-learning is required in order to return to ourselves and build lifestyles that fit our authentic calling.

Keep learning how to build the life you want because no one will defend your dream like you can.

7. They think the cost is too high.

Building the lifestyle of our dreams requires us to invest time and money. But it is an investment with profound returns.

We crave the feeling of achievement we get by harvesting the fruits of our labor. And we can’t harvest without investing and planting.

The value of our realized dreams is infinite, yet it’s easy to balk at the relatively small front-end investments.

I get it. I gave up a reliable income in order to build my dream. Now, I earn more per year than I would have after several promotions at my old job … and I work fewer hours and get to travel whenever I want to. The risks I took and the investments I made were high, but the value of living the dream is higher.

Then there are the costs of being stuck in a soul-sucking lifestyle. Ignoring our calling in life can leave us feeling small, sick, and disengaged for decades. It costs years of our lives and thousands in potential income to NOT live our dream.


I hope that recognizing these Blocks to Living by Design will help you catch them and work through them before it’s too late.



For help building the lifestyle of your dreams, check out this page or schedule a consultation here.